Cookiezi: The Greatest osu! Player of All Time

“The depth of his playing ability is far and away unmatched… …and the skill and talent truly put him at the top as the best player of not only 2016… …but of all time.” -HappyStick “He’s so famous that you probably don’t need to say anything about him… ..and this is interesting because normally you can say so many things about.” -lolcubes “If that doesn’t make him the best player of 2010, then clearly no one is.” -Doomsday “No doubt, Cookiezi is the greatest osu! player of all time.” -Toy In any gaming community there is a group of players who are true masters of their craft… …and stand out for their dominance in certain areas of their respective game. Some are so far ahead of their time that even their very name becomes synonymous with high level ability. One such story of a player so dominant is that of shigetora, or Cookiezi. For the majority of the past decade he has undisputedly been the best osu! player in the world. Even as players surpass him in single skills he still reigns undoubtedly as the best all-round player of all time. This is a story of practice and dedication, and of triumphs and defeats; this is the story of Shigetora. Not much is known about Shige himself since he enjoys his privacy. He prefers to remain anonymous and hide his face and voice… …although every now and then some images or audio turns up of him. We do know that he was born on March 4, 1997 in Busan, South Korea… …but other than that he likes to keep his personal life and his osu! life separate. This has turned him into a sort of mysterious figure that has always captivated the community. Shige’s osu! account was registered on June 17, 2009 at 9:03PM Korea Standard Time under the name ”Cookiezi”. It was created by and originally belonged to his brother who grew tired of the game after only a week or two. Shige had some rhythm game experience from playing his brother’s copy of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan… …and instantly took a liking to the PC port and continued to play on the account. Every time Shige played he would improve his scores and he would begin to top leaderboards… …making a name for himself in the small osu! Community. Throughout the year of 2010 and beyond Cookiezi would play to get first places on many maps and top the monthly charts. He worked his way up to playing the hardest difficulties of maps and then doing the same with mods. Pushing the boundaries of not only what was possible for him but even for anyone… …Cookiezi started setting mind-boggling scores on the hardest maps in the whole game. He had improved to the point where he was already considered the most skilled player in the world before the end of 2010. With this great work ethic towards playing and improving at the game just under 2 years after starting… …Cookiezi found himself at the #1 score rank in the world. After being voted #1 in the Annual Top 20 Players votes for 2010 and 2011… …Cookiezi became a sort of celebrity in the osu! community. He was looked up to by players who wished they could be like him just like any #1 player we would see now. In 2011 he made the switch from mouse to tablet like some top players had done before… …and many people seeing the best player in the world using a tablet decided to go and buy one for themselves. Not that he completely popularized the tablet as a device… …but he definitely had an impact on it becoming the device of choice for the majority of top osu! players in the current day Not to mention any skin he would play with would become one of the most popular skins in the game. Every time he would come online he was sure to have at least a few dozen spectators… …and when he would try for hard score that number could reach the hundreds. He definitely was an idol for many osu! players starting then, and still continues to be an osu! celebrity. With how much he was playing around these times though he grew bored and would often take breaks… …that would last multiple months to play other games he enjoyed like Starcraft II or to study for exams. Incredibly, each time he would come back it would be like he had barely lost any skill… …and would continue to take as many first places as he could before his next break. During 2011 and 2012 as tournaments started to become more commonplace… …Cookiezi would gain his reputation as a threat for anyone facing him in a match. His most famous tournament performance during this time was in osu! World Cup 3 back in 2012… …where he played for team Korea along with many of the other best players in the world. The grand finals saw Korea winning over Japan… …along with keeping their world champion status for the second time in a row. Cookiezi started off 2013 stronger than any year before, in true Cookiezi fashion. Starting in 2012 the new performance points system, that we now know as ppv1, was introduced… …and Cookiezi would almost always be ranked #1 in the world if he wasn’t taking a break. He started streaming a few of his osu! sessions on Twitch and would garner over a thousand viewers at a time. It’s no wonder since he was still becoming a better player every time he played… …and only a few people could rival many of the scores he would pump out in a single day. Some of his most famous older scores come from this time… …and he even has scores from 2013 that are unbeaten to this day over 6 years later. It’s fairly safe to say that near the middle of the year Cookiezi was the best player in almost all skills in the game… …whether it be speed, reading, aim, or stamina; at this time cookiezi was probably the absolute best at any of them. A select few top players could best him on some maps… …but it was clear that Cookiezi was far ahead of his time even in 2013. Soon though what seemed like his best year yet would turn sour. He decided to take another one of his breaks starting in the summer… but little did anyone know in a few months time history would be changed forever. Cookiezi got into a few feuds with osu! staff over his userpage being locked for what was thought… …by them to be offensive content and he also believed that some staff members hated him. Alongside this Cookiezi’s eyesight was worsening due to all the time he spent looking at his monitor. Since he was upset with the way he thought staff was treating him and he didn’t want to cause further… …damage to his eyes he decided it was time to quit osu!. He repeatedly asked osu! staff to delete his account but after being denied he took matters into his own hands. On November 11, 2013 Cookiezi logged on to osu! and sent his famous last words: “I’m here to delete my account.” His final action was to cheat on purpose so staff would have no option but to ban him. He blatantly timewarped on The Refrain of the Lovely Great War and masterpiece… which is being shown right now with Hidden HardRock Doubletime; …maps which no human, especially at the time, would be able to do just to make it obvious that he was cheating. Within minutes he was banned and could finally rest not being tempted to play. What followed was mass confusion over what happened and sadness for losing the greatest prodigy the game had ever seen. Back then a ban meant a complete profile wipe, so almost the past 5 years of… …osu! records and scores set by Cookiezi were now gone forever. All that remained were the replays that some people saved… …the videos of his plays and streams uploaded online, and the legacy that all the players who witnessed knew. In the following months multiple top players decided to take the same way out to quit the game… …causing the same feelings over and over again. Just a few months after the ban the first version of ppv2 was rolled out to become the new ranking system for osu!. Some people have gone back and calculated how much pp Cookiezi would’ve had if he made it to this change… …and the figures vary from 8,800 to 9,200 pp in a time when the #1 ranked player was rrtyui with just under 8,000. In a time where there was one single play worth more than 500pp… …Cookiezi would’ve had three of them to add to that, including the pp record at the time. Months passed and then years passed and the legend of Cookiezi never went away. He was such a mysterious player who was so far ahead of his time that… …his story just left everyone captivated that such a person could really exist. Come 2015 there were some players who were real contenders for being better than Cookiezi which made the game very exciting to watch… …but no one was able to quite reach the level that he had been at before he left. Maybe we should just accept that he would never come back… …but unbeknownst to anyone there was a certain suspicious user lurking in the shadows. A Japanese player called burstlimit popped up and started drawing attention by winning a tournament. He seemed to have incredible stamina, some that would rival even the top players at the time… …but for some reason no one had noticed until now. burstlimit was soon revealed to actually be a multiaccount created by Cookiezi… …and was promptly banned since creating more than one account is strictly against osu! rules. The hope that he had really returned was now reignited and the answer would come on June 21, 2015 when… …Cookiezi’s Twitch channel which lie dormant for over 2 years suddenly went live and viewers were greeted with osu! gameplay. With a renewed interest in the game Cookiezi, or as he now likes to be called Shigetora… …was truly back and ready to smash records once again although a few things had changed. He was now living in Japan for his studies and was vocal about his distaste for South Korean laws and how the country is run. Along with this his hand became weaker than before and he has to take breaks to stop the pain from playing for too long. Before long his streams became frequent and pulled between 2,000 to 5,000 viewers each… …some going beyond that and prompting Twitch staff to drop by to see what was going on. In just a few months with the help of a Twitch staff member Shige was able to get partnered on Twitch… …and his streaming career was officially started. There was just one goal left: get unbanned on osu!. Shige sent an appeal to osu! staff and there was word that they had been in talks back and forth. Staff had the pressure of the entire community to unban Shige on them… …but stayed firm and treated this case like any other. At one point it came out that Shige had sent a rude email in regards to the appeal… …and it seemed that he wasn’t cooperating with staff, but other than that everything kept moving forward. Months passed since he had sent his appeal when suddenly peppy, the creator of osu!, tweeted out a photo… …implying that he had gone out to dinner with Shige himself in real life to discuss the matter. Lo and behold, the same day Cookiezi’s profile became visible on the website, a sign that he had been unbanned. On November 26, 2015 after an over 2 year ban Shige was reunited with his account and began setting scores on stream. A new age begins for osu! as the heavily fought for rankings has a new competitor ready to be crowned the victor. If you had any doubts that Shige wasn’t as good as before… …they were quickly blown out of the water after he shattered any record that he could reach. Map that has never been full combo’d before? Here have a 99% FC. Impossible to pass? Shige did it in less than 5 tries. No one could do that. Well Shige just did. Not only was he playing catch up for all the time he missed with new maps… …he was going back and demolishing his old scores as well. Racing up the rankings with his remarkable plays he entered the top 10 before the year even ended… …only a month after being unbanned. By early 2016 pp inflation due to farm maps was very apparent to most players… …which makes it all the more impressive that Shige was able to compete and set the records that he did. This all culminated with the ultimate goal of breaking the 700pp barrier that several players were attempting… …and there was even a $1,000 bounty for the first 700pp play. The highest play at the time was worth 667pp, but there were a few maps that could make the leap to 700 if some players were able to do them. January 2, 2016. Shige has been playing Blue Zenith with Hardrock for the past few weeks because he’s… …closer to an FC than ever before, when suddenly. The record had been shattered. Regardless of FC or not, Shige’s one miss play on Blue Zenith with Hardrock became the first play to break the boundary at 727pp… …topping the old record by 60 points. Continuing his rampage Shige would again and again set scores that no one had ever done before almost every time he played. One major change that happened during this period was Shige’s move to OPENREC. OPENREC is a Japanese streaming platform similar to Twitch, and one day at the start of summer… …Shige decided he had enough with the lag that Twitch causes for him and started streaming there instead. This of course voided his partnership with Twitch for breaking the exclusivity agreement and cut down his viewership… …but according to him at the time it was worth it. He never cared about the rankings or pp at all, but he was still rewarded with pp for many of his plays. Even with that in mind I’m sure he still felt great when in June 2016… …he reached the #1 position on the ranking for the first time in over two and a half years. The way that he played made the rankings a constant battle between him and Rafis for the top spot… …and they would go back and forth holding rank #1 for a few months. All of this paved the way for what would go down on September 19, 2016. It seemed like a normal day. Shige was streaming on OPENREC and playing the usual maps… …when he decided to try for some runs on FREEDOM DiVE with Hidden Hardrock. Of course he’s no stranger to this map, he had full combo’d it three times before: …twice in 2013 and once earlier in the year with Hardrock. What was different about this time was he had ridiculous accuracy, and he wasn’t messing up… …and he actually did it. Cookiezi’s FREEDOM DiVE Hidden Hardrock FC is widely regarded as not only his best play… …but as the single best play of all time. It broke the pp record as well. Just days after firebat92 was able to take the title away from his Blue Zenith play with a 730pp… …he took it right back with the world’s first 800pp play. Even though this may have been the climax of his osu! career the story was far from over. Shige kept playing and setting scores that no one else could come close to just like he had been doing for the past 8 years. Proving once again that he was still the beast from before Shige entered and won many tournaments after being unbanned. You could probably tell this just by looking at his profile and seeing the over 12 badges that he has collected… …from his first place finishes in high profile tournaments like OCWT, Corsace, and SMT. Shige continued playing maps that he likes and finds challenging and even still would find a way to improve. Some of his most impressive scores are overshadowed by high pp plays… …and are on very rhythmically complex and hard to read maps. Many of these are older maps but some more recent as well. He continued to maintain the #1 global rank well into 2017 and 2018… …including after the pp rebalance, despite not actively trying to gain pp. Every time he plays Shige strives to be better and will scold himself if he is even slightly underperforming. Doing a 180 from his previous streaming platform decision… …in summer 2018 Shige decided to leave OPENREC and return to Twitch once again. It took a few more months and even though he voided his partnership Twitch were willing to grant it to him again. Shige also started to come out of the shadows around this time. He made real life appearances at Guangzhou YACA and Cavoe’s osu! Event 2018… …wearing a mask as to not reveal his face and not speaking. Another seemingly strange occurrence was his username change to nathan on osu. It was meant as a joke and a jab at staff who claimed to secure the usernames of top players so that they could prevent names being stolen and impersonation. All of that seems fair but earlier staff had allowed Cookiezi’s preferred name, Shigetora, which he had also gone by for years off osu!… …to be taken by another user without securing it for him like they had done for other players. In early 2019 after setting some of his craziest scores yet… …Shige announced that he would be taking his first major break from osu! in a long time. As of recording he is still on this break… …but looking back on his history I would not be surprised if he comes back even stronger than before. During this break Shige’s account turned 10 years old marking a decade of the most incredible osu! gameplay the world has ever seen. Shige has started to open up even more after attending Cavoe’s osu! Event 2019 where… …he was a lot more social, having lots of fun, taking pictures than last time, and even talking at some points. Since he first returned to osu! he was counted for the Annual Top 20 Players votes once again… …and unsurprisingly has won first place for every year that he hasn’t been banned. As of recording this video he has achieved #1 in the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017, and 2018 votes. All the time up to now would see many players rise through the rankings who were able to surpass him in single skillsets… …such as idke’s Hardrock ability and Vaxei’s aim, but the general consensus is that no single person is as good at as many skills as Shige is. His reading and technical aim are almost unrivaled even still. The future still looks promising with highly skilled players who may even surpass Shige at some point. Everyone will move on from games at some point and no one can keep playing osu! forever. The day that Shige decides to truly quit will be a sad day and it’s inevitable… …but we should be happy that we were able to witness a story like his. All of this is why Shigetora is definitely the greatest osu! player of all time. [DAISUKE]

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